also contain evidence of the quality of the design. But that element is missing from the NSES. “We didn’t build the part of this that will let us say whether or not it works,” he said. “We don’t have the assessment to say what is going to happen—whether, in the end, students will have learned science in a way that we vaguely hope they will.”
It is clear then, that more research is needed in order to turn the vision contained in the NSES into a blueprint for action. “We need a more comprehensive vision of research to provide answers,” he said, “so that three or four or five years down the road, there won’t be all the gaps. There will be some information to fill those gaps.” We need to “map out the terrain of unanswered questions and be systematic about making resources available to address them.”
Stecher called for more research that looks at student learning and the act of teaching. He called for more research that is sensitive to school and classroom culture that tries to determine how well teachers understand the standards, how they translate them into practice, and how they communicate them to students.
“It is clear,” he said, “we need research on assessment development to produce measures that tell us whether or not students are more inquisitive, have scientific habits of thought, can reason from evidence, and master the kind of principles of science that are really inherent in the NSES.”
Stecher also stressed the need for more research that focuses on pre-service and in-service teacher education. “If we implement [the NSES] through intensive pre-service training, if we put more money into pre-service training and less into in-service training, does it lead to better effects than if we do it the other way?” he asked. “To find the answers to those questions, you really need to mount some experiments on a small scale and study them and see whether they work or not.”
He called for more research on how to take micro-level results and apply them to the macro-level. “So, once we understand something about what goes on in the classroom,” he said, “how do we make those things happen on a larger scale?”
The work accomplished so far, he concluded, provides “a really good basis for moving forward and for making the most out of a number of years of really thoughtful work on bringing this vision to fruition. If we do this again in five years, maybe we can all be patting ourselves on the back about how well it has all happened. I would hope so.” Sneider thanked Stecher for his summary and then added his own closing remarks. He thanked the participants for their hard work, adding, “You carry with you the success or failure of this workshop, and I hope that you have found the time valuable, that all the colleagues to whom you will be reporting also find it interesting.”